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Hydrocarbon distribution in the Southern Apennines thrust belt of Italy is directly related to the geological characteristics and complex evolution of the thrust tectonic pile involving units from different palaeogeographical domains. Within this structural–stratigraphic context, the main exploration target is represented by the carbonate units of the Apulian Platform, which contain the largest and deepest oilfields in the region.

By integrating different types (e.g. wells, seismic, maps, reports) of legacy public and confidential data of various vintages, the subsurface structural setting of the contractional Apulian structures around the Benevento Field in the Southern Apennines hydrocarbon province is reconstructed.

The discovery dates back to the early 1970s. The reservoir consists of Cretaceous–Lower Miocene carbonates at a depth of around 3000 m below sea level bearing both oil and gas. A new digital interpretation and integration, which takes into account the most recent understanding of the evolution of this thrust belt, has allowed reconstruction of the trap style of the Benevento Field and of the prospective (undrilled) structures in the surrounding area. A history of positive inversion tectonics is interpreted from a 2D kinematic restoration; this has important implications for both the structural style and the hydrocarbon prospectivity of the Southern Apennines thrust belt.

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